New Year’s Resolutions Again? Do this instead. (Part 3)
I sure hope you are doing all these exercises because the outcome is awesome. Let’s get into today’s exercise.
If you really want a strong bond you need a good 2 part epoxy, consisting of a resin and a catalyst (hardener). This process is the same. So far you have the resin. That is, you know your highest stress areas and you have brainstormed who you would BE- what you would DO- and what you would HAVE if you were in that desired state. Now you need a good catalyst to react with that resin and harden it into something you know you not only will do but you must do!
Catalysts come in 2 kinds, benefits and consequences, pros and cons, the good and the bad and you need some of both. But I am very careful, in my process, you need to be sure you have a heavy bias toward the benefits of achieving the goal. You want just enough of the negative to make you say to yourself, “I never want to go there.” But not so much that you are afraid and running from some bad imagined outcome. That would actually be unhelpful.
This will be harder because most of us fall victim to the negativity bias. It is so much easier to come up with things we don’t want than things we want. It is easier to shoot down someone’s good idea than to come up with your own.
This is a serious problem because, if you focus on avoiding the negative things then you will end up seeing more of them. It is known as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Like when you are thinking about buying a red Volkswagen bug and suddenly you see red bugs everywhere. Similarly, if you focus on negative stuff you will see more of it. It isn’t magic it is selective attention and the confirmation bias.
I remember noticing it for the first time when I was a kid and I was into Houdini, you know, the escape artist. My passion would come and go over the course of a year’s time and it was funny that every time I was interested there would be a show on TV. This was back when we had about six channels and you had to watch what they showed. The same thing will happen with you.
So, stop it. Purposely focus on the benefits of your goal. What will you get because of it? Why do you need to do it? List them. Lots of them. Imagine what life would be like if you reached the picture you envisioned. Don’t imagine how life would be different, that is focusing on the subtraction. Imagine what life would be like if you did achieve it.
For example; vision = I am fit
Don’t make this list:
- I wouldn’t get tired when playing with my kids
- I wouldn’t have to sit in the lodge or at home when my friends go skiing
- I wouldn’t feel so awful all the time
- I wouldn’t be so depressed
Make this list instead:
- I will have energy to play with my kids.
- I will be able to enjoy a beautiful day of skiing.
- My body will feel awesome.
- My mood will be happy because of those cool endorphins
Read the lists above deliberately and then pause after each list. How do you feel? If you are like most people you will feel kind of crummy after the first one and like it will be a lot of work. After the second one, you will feel more energized. You will probably feel like it is doable or at least worth giving it a try.
That is your challenge for today. Create a powerful list of benefits and consequences. Try for 3:1 ratio of benefits to consequences.
Repeat this process for your top 3 buckets. More if you like but again, I imagine you will be exhausted at the end of this. So go easy on yourself.
Let’s change the subject now.
Some of your items in your imagined ideal state may appear to be in conflict. Let’s address them.
I have two thoughts on this. One is that most often we feel they are in conflict because of something we were told growing up. Take the idea of being wealthy. It may be that you were told growing up that people with money were all crooked and all cheat on their taxes. Or maybe you were told people with money were greedy. You were also told that you need to provide for your family. Ok, that seems in conflict. But…think with me for a minute. If you are a generous person and have the ability to make money shouldn’t you use that ability in order to amplify your generosity? Look at the lives of people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. These two men are giving away hundreds of millions of dollars to cure diseases, and end poverty around the world. Would that good have ever been possible if Bill or Warren had not created wealth?
So thought number one is, if you feel like some of your stuff is in conflict, look for exceptions to your belief. Are there people who are holding both of these visions at the same time? If there are then it is possible! You can model them. Examine their beliefs, read what you can about them and see how they balance the two in their minds.
The second thought. If you cannot find someone who exemplifies the exception, you have a choice to make. Either you choose one and make the other conform to your existing belief or you hold both. Hold both and embrace the contradiction. See if you can be the first exception in history. If you can, awesome you become the example to millions of others. If you cannot, then hold onto the one that is more important to you and let the other morph into another vision that is in alignment with reality.
The fact is you won’t probably know for a while if either of these is an issue.
Tomorrow is awesome. It is probably what you have been waiting for, we get to the nitty gritty of doing something toward your vision.
If you are finding this useful, please shrae it with your friends and co-workers. I want to help people get better at this whole goal reaching thing.
See you tomorrow